Black Donors: A Loyal Demographic That Likes Consistency
The Jackie Robinson Foundation is an organization that seeks to perpetuate the legacy of Jackie Robinson — the legendary baseball star who was the first African American ever to play major-league baseball — by providing scholarships and support services including mentoring to minority students. As the organization commemorates the 60th year since Robinson broke the color barrier, Vice President and COO Allison Davis took the time to share some general tips she’s garnered through her experiences with the organization’s black donor base. The key focus, as with all donors, Davis says, should be on strong cultivation, strong branding and good DRM.
1) As with all donors, don’t give up on those that give small to moderate-sized gifts. Davis says the foundation makes sure to fully cultivate all individuals who show interest in the organization. Someone you don’t deem worthy of cultivating could end up leaving $1 million to an organization that did cultivate them.
2) Proper cultivation doesn’t just have implications for your relationship with each donor; it can extend to other members of the family. “Many folks who started with us 33 years ago, their children have continued with us, and I think that’s important,” Davis says. “Their children have made us their charity of choice. So you don’t want to leave anybody behind, no matter how big you get.”
3) Understand the importance of brand loyalty. In general, black consumers are incredibly brand loyal and tend to pass this loyalty down through generations. Because of this, Davis cautions organizations against making drastic changes to their image, mission or policies for fear of alienating people who support them out of this sense of loyalty.
4) Black donors tend to be both fiscally and socially conservative. Davis says the foundation is sure to balance its messaging — which she says is not always conservative but also not “so far out there” either — and remain true to its mission to maintain the ideals of Jackie Robinson.
5) Be sure to follow up with donors, whether it’s a phone call, letter, e-mail, postcard, etc. “Many times we get so caught up with trying to figure out where the next donor base will come from that we forget those who have stuck with us, and so we have to be mindful of really following up with those people who have been our bread and butter,” Davis says.
Allison Davis can be reached via www.jackierobinson.org